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Live Blog: Wintry Weather Pounding WNY

As much as two feet of snow is expected to fall in some parts of Western New York by tomorrow as Lake Effect snow bands that set up early Monday continued dropping heavy snow across the region during the day.

Stay tuned here with Buffalo News Live tonight as News Staff Reporter T.J. Pignataro provides updates on the weather and how it is affecting storm totals, traffic and utilities.

6:09 p.m. - The westbound New York State Thruway reopened to traffic after a multi-vehicle crash and poor road conditions forced the roadway's closure for about an hour. Westbound motorists exited the Thruway at Exit 57A, Eden/Angola.

6:43 p.m. - The National Weather Service's most recent update for northern Erie County, including the Buffalo metro area forecased that "light snow showers" were expected to spread eastward through about 7 p.m. Snow was expected to fall at amounts up to 1/4 inch per hour, coating untreated roadways.

6:53 p.m. - National Weather Service meteorologists report they are updating storm totals from across the region as we speak, so we should have updated numbers shortly. Meteorologists say this event is exclusively driven by the Lake Effect machine.

6:59 p.m. - The NWS issued a Special Weather Statement for Niagara and Orleans counties this hour reporting that lake effect snow was moving across northern and central Niagara County was moving into Orleans County as well. "Brief periods of moderate to heavy snow may cause significant restrictions to visibility including brief whiteout conditions." The areas affected include the cities of Niagara Falls, Medina as well as Barker and Waterport.

 7:03 p.m. - The heavy snow does not seem to be affecting area utilities much. Only 12 NYSEG customers are without power in Erie County, including 9 in Cheektowaga, according to the utility company. National Grid reports 328 without power in Chautauqua County, including 304 in the town of Kiantone. There are also 74 out of power in Cattaraugus County, 73 of which are in East Otto.

7:12 p.m. - Chautauqua County Sheriff's dispatch reports that Interstate 86 westbound between Sherman and the Pennsylvania State Line is now closed because of "multiple accidents" related to the weather. Sheriff's officials said there were numerous accidents county-wide, none as of now proved fatal. Deputies are also cautioning motorists traveling on the Thruway through Chautauqua County to "travel at your own risk." Tow truck operators are telling deputies "they have no guarantees they can get anyone out there" to stranded motorists at this time because of the severe heavy snow that is falling.

 7:18 p.m. - New Special Weather Steatement by NWS in Buffalo for Southern Erie County shows
HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW TO CONTINUE ACROSS SOUTHERN ERIE COUNTY...A HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW BAND WILL CONTINUE ACROSS SOUTHERN ERIE COUNTY...SOUTH OF HAMBURG AND EAST AURORA. SNOWFALL RATES OF 1 TO 1.5 INCHES PER HOUR WILL BE LIKELY ESPECIALLY FROM GOWANDA TO SPRINGVILLE. The heavy snow will "keep roads snow covered," the statement adds, reducing "visibilities to less than a quarter of a mile at times." Motorists traveling in these areas should remain aware of the road conditions. The heavy snow is expected to continue spreading eastward.

7:22 p.m. - News' Staff Reporter Matt Gryta reports Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies were continuing to investigate a single vehicle crash on West Perimeter Road in Steamburg about 1:15 p.m. Monday. An unidentified driver was reported to be "uninjured" when the vehicle "spun off the icy road and struck what was once operated as the Richards Smoke Shop building.

8:13 p.m. - National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Wood tells the News that cold temperatures are expected to prevail throughout the week with wind chills frequently below zero over the next two days.

8:38 p.m. - Said Wood: “It’s kind of like winter finally decided to show up.” The NWS Buffalo meteorologist explained that a large “upper level” trough was responsible for the wintry weather by ushering extremely cold air into the area. The cold air over the still open waters of lakes Erie and Ontario spells big time snowfall for those in the affected areas.

8:40 p.m. - “It’s a very cold airmass setting up over the lakes and the lakes are still open,” said Wood. “It’s certainly not out of the ordinary for January....The highest accumulation areas are going to be mainly east of Lake Ontario and, of course in our area, from the Southtowns on south.”

8:50 p.m. - Another accident report just in from this afternoon in Niagara County. Sheriff's deputies there reported at least one person had to be extricated from a vehicle after a 1:40 p.m. crash at Lockport-Olcott and Dale roads that involved two vehicles and a tractor-trailer. Lockport-Olcott Road, which is Route 78, was closed to traffic for about 90 minutes between Dale and McKee roads while emergency crews were at the scene. One person was taken to the Eastern Niagara Hospital in Newfane for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Here's a sample of some of the road conditions in the Southtowns, specifically Route 5 in the town of Evans about 4 p.m.: 

10:35 p.m. - Here's a link to the updated story we recently posted at

 10:39 p.m. - Chautauqua County authorities report there were 36 weather-related accidents Monday.

 10:43 p.m. - Fourth call to the NWS tonight. This time, for the snow total at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport... (Drum Roll, please):  0.5 inches.

10:45 p.m. - A Lake Effect Snow Warning for Chautauqua and Southern Erie counties remains in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday. Snowfall rates of up to 2 inches per hour could fall in the most persistent snow bands, the NWS reports.

10:48 p.m. - In Mayville, the seat of Chautauqua County government, up to 10 inches of snow is possible overnight followed by up to 8 more Tuesday and 5 more than that Tuesday night. 10+5+8= 23 inches possible over the next 24 hours.

10:54 p.m. - Environment Canada reports it's currently -13 C in Toronto, or about 9 degrees Fahrenheit. On the Sabres bus headed home with a 2-1 win? Sunny and clear.

11:00 p.m. - Some late night reports from the News' Matt Gryta, who has been in touch with local police agencies tonight:

"Other than Chautauqua County which reported 36 weather-caused vehicular accidents countywide with minor injuries in a few since about 7 a.m. today, and Cattaraugus County reporting snow-covered roadways but no accidents other than a one-car incident in Steamburg early in the afternoon, other counties reported routine winter weather conditions on roadways.

Genesee County dispatch reported roads "getting icy" late this evening, but no accidents. Wyoming County dispatch reported "pretty quiet" road conditions, Orleans County dispatch reported some reports of slippery roads but no accidents or road problems and Allegany and Livingston counties reported no problems because the storm bands seemed to miss those areas.

Niagara County tonight reported a couple of road accidents but "nothing major."


11:03 p.m. - A message from the Buffalo City Mission: 

"The Buffalo City Mission issued a Code Blue alert in the midst of single-digit wind chills Sunday night, and more can be expected as frigid temperatures continue this week.

From 8 p.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. today, the mission opened its warming center at 150 E. North St., offering food, shelter and clothing for those who need it.

St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, 325 Walden Ave., also is participating in the alert.

The Code Blue is in effect on nights between Nov. 15 and March 15 when temperatures are expected to dip below 10 degrees – or below zero degrees with wind chill – or when there is a National Weather Service-declared blizzard.

For more information, call the Buffalo City Mission at 854-8181."


11:06 p.m. - Current Conditions at the BNIA: 12 degrees, West Winds at 10 mph, gusts to 21 mph. Wind Chill: minus-1.

11:19 p.m. - Been holding out to provide updates on any latest snow totals before the night's out, however, NWS says spotters yet to call in new reports. It'll be a deep Winter Wonderland come dawn in many parts south of Buffalo.

11:21 p.m. - Check out all editions of Tuesday's Buffalo News for complete coverage of the weather as well as today's Inauguration Day festivities in Washington, D.C. and the Sabres 2-0 start to the 2013 season. Also, stay tuned to all day Tuesday for frequent updates on weather, news and sports!

From One News Plaza, downtown, this is T.J. Pignataro signing off. Be safe out there.

Live Blog - "Truthland" Hydrofracking Forum - 7 p.m.

The screening of "Truthland" -- a "first-of-its-kind project" by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Energy In Depth -- will be open to the public at 7 p.m. tonight from the Burchfield Penney Art Center at the Buffalo State College campus.

Buffalo News Reporter T.J. Pignataro will be there live for to bring you details on the content of the 34-minute film as well as a discussion that will follow by an expert panel that will likely seek to dispel what it believes to be negative misinformation about hydro-fracking.

The panel, according to organizers, will field questions about the development of natural gas from shale.

Live Blog - West Seneca Town Board - 7 p.m.

A $30 million bond resolution to improve the West Seneca town sewers and a $9.3 million energy project for the town will highlight tonight's 7 p.m. meeting of the West Seneca Town Board.

The board will meet at West Seneca Town Hall, 1250 Union Road.

Buffalo News' West Seneca reporter, T.J. Pignataro, is live on location. Join him here at Buffalo News Live.

Live Blog West Seneca $30 Million Sewer Project Public Hearing - 5 p.m.

A public hearing on West Seneca's proposed $30 million improvement project to sewer districts 5, 13 and 20 will be held at the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center, 4620 Seneca St.

Recurrent sewage problems have plagued residents and waterways for years and the town remains under a state Department of Environmental Conservation consent order to remedy the problems. This improvement project is designed to do that.

T.J. Pignataro, the West Seneca reporter for The Buffalo News, will be live at the senior center at 5 p.m. Tune in here to follow along with the events.


Live Blog from Second Hearing on Garbage Totes in Cheektowaga - 6 p.m.

About 300 Cheektowaga residents attended last week's first informational hearing about the town's proposed shift to large, plastic totes for garbage.

Cheektowaga, which is expected to implement the up to $1.5 million program later this summer, would join the towns of Amherst and Tonawanda as well as the City of Buffalo in requiring its residents use the sealable totes.

Tonight, the second of six meeting scheduled on the issue by Supervisor Mary F. Holtz will be held at 6 p.m. in the Monsignor Malikowski Center at Resurrection Church, 134 Como Park Blvd.

T.J. Pignataro, Cheektowaga reporter for The Buffalo News, will report on the hearing live right here starting at 6. Readers are encouraged to participate.

Live Blog - West Seneca Developmental Center - 7 p.m.

The fourth and final public information session about how to best use the 439-acre site of the West Seneca Developmental Center will be held at the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center, 4620 Seneca St., tonight at 7.

The session tonight will include an overview of the issue as well as the next steps in the process. Those in attendance (the public is invited) will be invited to participate in a break-out session to provide their own input and ideas for what direction the town should take in the development of the site.

The Buffalo News' West Seneca reporter, T.J. Pignataro, will be reporting on tonight's hearing live here and invites public participation to the blog.


Live Blog - West Seneca Planning Board - 7 p.m.

A new 42,000 square foot animal shelter for the SPCA Serving Erie County will be one of three items at a busy slate for West Seneca Planning Board members at 7 p.m. in Town Hall, 1250 Union Road. Kideney Architects is requesting the site plan for the proposed $9 million shelter be approved for 300 Harlem Road.

The board will also consider requests from Edbauer Construction Co. for the rezoning of a property at 2735 Clinton St. and Benderson Development, which is looking for site plan approval for property located at Harlem and Mineral Springs roads. Benderson wants to expand an existing strip plaza to house a new tenant, Dollar Tree.

Join West Seneca Reporter T.J. Pignataro who will cover tonight's meeting right here live.


Live Blog of 3rd Hearing for West Seneca Developmental Center site - 7 p.m.

Join T.J. Pignataro, the West Seneca reporter for The Buffalo News, who will be live at the West Seneca Senior Citizens Center, 4620 Seneca Street, for the third of four public hearings about how to best utilize the more than 430-acre site of the former West Seneca Developmental Center.

Dean Gowan, a local landscape architect, will be on hand to discuss possible development strategies for the parcel, according to West Seneca town officials.

You're invited to submit your own ideas about what you think should be done at the WSDC site or comment on Gowan's presentation during the live blog.

Live Blog from West Seneca Town Board - 7 p.m.

Join T.J. Pignataro, The Buffalo News' West Seneca reporter, who will be live from West Seneca Town Hall for the 7 p.m. scheduled public hearing on the controversial (and now suspended) law requiring sewer laterals to be replaced on pre-1980 properties for sale in West Seneca.

The public hearing will be followed by a regular meeting of the West Seneca Town Board.

This is the second and final live blog from West Seneca Town Hall today at Buffalo News Live. The first -- which can now be viewed on replay -- covered the town board's 5 p.m. work session. There, Richard Henry, town engineer discussed several capital improvement projects in town.

DOT Meeting on Closed Rte. 219 Bridge - Feb. 7

The state Department of Transportation closed the old Route 219 bridge linking Erie and Cattaraugus counties last month due to safety concerns. The DOT is moving forward with plans to repair the bridge and get it open this spring.

DOT officials will meet with the public at 7 p.m. at Concord Town Hall in Springville.

Join Buffalo News reporter T.J. Pignataro who will be reporting live from the meeting.


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